Sunday, June 18, 2006

Initial D

Review by Michael Jaffe

Initial D is a phenomenon is asia with the anime series and the manga books. The writing and the capturing of the drifting car culture combined with interesting characters made for a guaranteed winner. Now look at the team of writers and directors behind the Infernal affairs trilogy, one of the best and highest grossing film series to come out of Hong Kong in a while. Put these two separate yet equally awesome entities together and you get Initial D, the film experience. Neither the source material nor the film makers made any mistakes in getting this incredibly unique and exhilarating film experience to the screen. Simply put, Initial D is one of my favorite movies already because its combination of jaw dropping race scenes, funny ass dialogue, great acting and best of all, inspiring directing all came together in perfect unity.
The plot has tofu delivery boy Takumi, who has grown up driving fast on the curves of Japan’s greatest mountain. As Takumi sleeps (actually sleeps) through high speed, daring races on the mountain, he gains fame and notoriety and eventually begins racing other champions. The plot is kind of bazaar and remarkably simple, but the characters and the cars keep you fully locked and honed in on the movie for the entire run time. The actors are all familiar to fans of Hong Kong Cinema, and for anyone who has seen Infernal Affairs; many faces will look familiar to you. The actors all play their roles extremely well; especially Anthony Wong who plays Bunta, Takumi’s drunken, comedic father perfectly, frequently making one liners that caused the audience to roar with laughter. The writing of the film is very odd and quirky, but at no point does it not cause you to groan because it is simply so stupid. Occasionally lines are so hokey that a chuckle is required, but based on the writer’s previous credits, the probably put in the cheesy lines just to get laughs, and they achieve their goal remarkably well.
The race scenes though are the real star of the film as with not a hint of CGI through most of the driving sequences, I found myself actually moving my hands like I was steering and shifting along with the characters on screen I was so sucked into the experience of the movie. For car buffs, the races aren’t between super charger American muscle cars like we see in Fast and the Furious, but who car handle better, the GTR or the AE86. The racing sequences at night on the curvy mountain roads are truly poetry in motion as the drivers, at least the good ones, drift smoothly, with no bumps around curves at intense speeds.
As either a car geek, or just a movie lover, Initial D will thouroughly entertain you and make you want to see more. I saw this at a film festival, so I don’t know about a mainstream, US theatre run, but it is out on DVD in the states and I highly recommend you pick it up now. 9/10

No comments:

The Reviews